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After 20 years, century plant blooms

By LOURDES VAZQUEZ
May 7, 2010 at 12:07 a.m.

The century plant, also known as the agave, has grown nearly to the height of Sammy Rippamonti's flag pole at their home in Inez. His wife, Katherine Rippamonti, was given the plant 20 years ago by their daughter. This is the first time it has bloomed.

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Go to http://www.agaveplant.org to find out more about agave plants.

Katherine Rippamonti's agave plant had not bloomed until recently, 20 years after her daughter gave it to her.

Agave plants, also known as century plants, bloom once every 20 to 40 years, depending on climate, Rippamonti said.

The plant stands as tall as their flag pole.

"It just started growing over two weeks and it got that tall," her husband Sammy Rippamonti, said.

Their daughter, Mary Kyser, found the plant along the river bank in Rio Lindo near Leakey.

"It's the first one I've ever seen and probably the last one we'll see," said Rippamonti, a mother of four.

The 76-year-old said she decided to plant the agave on a portion of the property where nothing grew because of the heat.

"I just let nature take care of it," she said.

Kyser told her parents that the plant is usually found growing in the wild in Mexico and used in several ways.

A friend of Rippamonti told her that the top of the plant can be used as a Christmas tree.

"I just hope it doesn't blow over," her husband said.

The two said they have grown fond of the plant and are not sure what they will do with it.

After the plant finishes blooming, it begins to die, they said.

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